Scott talks about the relative success Strikeforce guys have had in The UFC. He really only mentions Alistair Overeem though.
Scott looks back and fondly recalls his favorite Strikeforce memories, as the promotion gears up for its final event.
Scott Coker isn’t really sure what the future holds for himself.
Coker, who founded Strikeforce and helped turn it into a strong second promotion in the U.S. behind the UFC, will see the company fade away Saturday night.
During a recent stop on The MMA Hour, Coker reflected on Strikeforce and pointed to Frank Shamrock, Cung Le, Gilbert Melendez and Josh Thomson as the building blocks.
The first four pillars: Frank, Cung, Gil and Josh – they were the building blocks of our organization. I’ll be grateful forever for those guys for putting their hearts out and fighting their asses off because without those four guys, I don’t think we’d have been able to build this company into what it was.
While Coker said he has a contract with Zuffa, he’s unsure if he will work with the UFC in the future. However, MMA will always be something he follows.
I’m a martial artists fanatics and will continue to support martial arts and contribute to martial arts. It’s something I believe in and it’s not going to stop.
Strikeforce founder and CEO Scott Coker didn’t really say anything new on Thursday. Instead, Coker confirmed what everyone already knew.
Following a January 12 card entitled Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine, the promotion will no longer be show on Showtime.
“Since 2009, Showtime has been a great partner and we appreciate its support of Strikeforce and our athletes,” Coker said. “For our final event, we’ve loaded the card with some outstanding fights. This is going to be a memorable night for the sport of mixed martial arts.”
Most have felt it was only a matter of time before Strikeforce closed up shop. And, while Coker did not confirm that, all signs point to the end for the promotion.
Strikeforce has had two events cancelled by Showtime in the past few months after injuries ruined the main events. The January card has also two championship matches, as well, since being announced.
Showtime officials have stated they plan to remain in the MMA business, though nothing has been confirmed or a promotion announced.
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker understands the concerns many feel are facing his promotion.
After cancelling back-to-back cards, Strikeforce appears to be focusing all its attention on a January super-event with several champions expected to compete.
“We’re looking at a show in January with Daniel Cormier, Luke Rockhold and Gilbert Melendez,” said Coker, in an interview with MMAFighting.com, “and don’t be surprised to see Ronda Rousey and Nate Marquardt, as well.”
Cormier earned the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix title earlier this year, while Rockhold (middleweight), Melendez (lightweight), Rousey (bantamweight) and Marquardt (welterweight) all hold Strikeforce gold.
Since Zuffa bought Strikeforce, most have felt it was only a matter of time before the promotion ceased to exist. Coker has stated time and time again that is not the case.
Melendez was forced out of a planned September card, and Showtime decided to not air the event without him in the main event. Next, no opponent could be found to face Cormier in November, and Strikeforce decided to cancel that card, as well.
During the final press conference to help promote Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker did his best to let it be known that this is a card that cannot be missed.
Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy takes place this evening on Showtime and Showtime Extreme. The event goes down from Portland’s Rose Garden.
In the main event Tim Kennedy will challenge for the Strikeforce middleweight title currently held by Luke Rockhold. The co-main event features Nate Marquardt and Tyron Woodley for the vacant Strikeforce welterweight crown.
When I look at this fight card from top to bottom, this is an amazing card. Like I’ve said, look at the fights that are on Showtime Extreme; those fights could really be on the championship part of the card. So, from top-to-bottom, Strikeforce is going to deliver another world class match up.
The remainder of the main card boasts Roger Gracie-Keith Jardine and Robbie Lawler-Lorenz Larkin. On the prelims will be Jorge Masvidal, Ryan Couture, Joe Duarte and several others.
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker confirmed that the promotion will likely look to book a Ronda Rousey vs. Cris Cyborg match if things unfold as planned over the next several months, Coker told MMAFighting.com recently.
Of course, that means Rousey is successful in her title defense against Sarah Kaufman later this year, and that Cyborg is granted her fight license after having it revoked due to a failed drug test.
“I think that’s gonna be inevitable,” Coker said. “I think that fight will happen at some point. We’re just waiting for Cyborg to get off her suspension. But, that conversation will happen once she’s back and ready to fight. Because her and Ronda at 135, that might be the highest rated show on Showtime for the year – or for the past fights we’ve done.”
Rousey submitted Miesha Tate to secure the title, and Cyborg has said in several interviews that she will move to 135 after her suspension is over. She was stripped of the Strikeforce featherweight title after the positive drug test, along with having her win over Hiroko Yamanaka changed to a no-contest. Her suspension ends on December 17.
Photo credit: CombatLifestyle.com
Maybe the UFC doesn’t need to ship one of its top lightweights to Strikeforce to face Gilbert Melendez for the Strikeforce lightweight title.
Instead, once his contract is up, Zuffa could go after Eddie Alvarez for a possible “dream” match with Melendez for the belt. Scott Coker, CEO for the fight promotion, told MMAFighting.com he would be happy with that.
“Come on over to Strikeforce,” Coker said. “Let’s do the Melendez fight. That would be fantastic. I think that he’s a guy who is extremely talented that we would love to have in Strikeforce to fight Gilbert.”
Alvarez defeated Shinya Aoki in his most recent fight, rebounding from a thrilling loss to Michael Chandler for the Bellator title. It is believed that he has one match – or a number of months – left on his Bellator deal.
Melendez is coming off a victory over Josh Thomson, completing their trilogy with a decision triumph. Pat Healy has also been rumored as a potential next challenger to the title reign of “El Nino.”
Photo credit: Bellator
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker speaks with Ariel Helwani about the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, the possibility of Ronda Rousey vs. Cris Cyborg, and the future of Josh Barnett, Daniel Cormier, and Gilbert Melendez.
Thanks to MMAFighting.com for the video.
Coker didn’t hesitate, saying, “We have a great relationship. I think we have provided great fights with great ratings. You’ll continue to see Strikeforce on Showtime for many years to come.”
After Zuffa purchased Strikeforce, it seemed as if it was only a matter of time before the promotion was folded into the UFC. However, the deal with Showtime kept it alive, despite several big changes.
The heavyweight division, for one, will be gone within the next few weeks. The finals of the heavyweight grand prix are slated for next week, and one more match is expected after that before it finishes up. Many members of the roster are already in the UFC.
Fighters like Gilbert Melendez, Luke Rockhold, Tim Kennedy, Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate are being primed as the stars for Strikeforce.